What’s the only thing more interesting than one benches clearing incident? Well, two benches clearing incidents, with a brawl thrown in for good measure. For the Nationals who’ve lost large leads that looked out blowouts before, they didn’t take any chances, beating the Cubs 9-2 and overall outscoring them 31-9 over four games. For the Cubs, it became a little bit too much to take and frustration spilled out onto the field leading to ejections for both teams.
In yesterday’s sweep of the Chicago Cubs, the Nationals once again blew out their opposition, maintained a 7 1/2 game lead in the NL East, and dropped their magic number to win the National League East down to 18.
The first benches clearing incident happened in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jayson Werth was batting with the bases loaded and the Nats up 7-2. Cubs catcher Clevenger went to the dugout to change his glove when Nats third base coach Bo Porter approached the Cubs dugout yelling. Yet first before Porter approached the dugout, replays showed Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk pointing and yelling at Porter.
Eventually players ran out onto the field from the dugouts and bullpens and the fracas was subdued by the umpires without any further incident. Quirk was ejected from the game for his actions, while Porter remained in. Later after the game umpire Jerry Layne stated that Quirk instigated the shouting match by yelling at Porter.
The fun didn’t end there. The next inning when Bryce Harper was batting, Cubs pitcher Lendy Castillo threw an inside pitch. Harper wasn’t hit by the pitch, but with bad blood already brewing, tempers flared. As Harper started walking towards the mound he had to be restrained by catcher Clevenger and umpire Jerry Layne.
Subsequently both dugouts and bullpens emptied once again. The ever-watchful Jayson Werth, along with Ryan Zimmerman restrained Harper and the nineteen year old didn’t provide any theatrics.
Just as things seemed to be calling down, the brawl broke out around first base, causing both teams to run there. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo put his hand on Nationals reliever Michael Gonzalez’s shoulder, perhaps as some sort of sign which caused Gonzalez and another Cub to get into a shouting match.
When Clevenger pushed Michael Morse it escalated the fight. Bullpen coach Jim Lett rushed to pull Gonzalez back, while hitting coach Rick Eckstein held reliever Sean Burnett back. Bench coach Randy Knorr pulled back an incensed Edwin Jackson who was shouting and pointing while Davey Johnson held back Michael Morse.
In the end Clevenger and pitcher Manuel Corpas were ejected for the Cubs. Michael Gonzalez was the only National to be ejected. At the end of the inning the Nationals had the last say–Adam LaRoche hit a two-run home run.
At the end of the game Davey Johnson held more concern about his team staying cool in the middle of a pennant race.
“We don’t start things but we’re not going to completely back down from anything. But that was, you worry about somebody getting hurt or somebody getting suspended because of something they did. I had a conversation with several of the guys and (said); “We just can’t react. Even if somebody got smoked, we can’t hit somebody.’”
Were the Nationals wrong to be running up the runs on the worn down Cubs? Baseball etiquette may say yes, but many Nationals fans very well know the times the team has lost substantial leads. They blew a nine run lead just this year. This team is playing to win. They mind their own business and don’t aim to strip teams of their dignity. The game is played to be won, not played out of courtesy. It’s those with the most runs who win and that’s something the Nationals remember and play to do.
- See videos of both benches clearing.
- And read the write-up.
- Don’t forget about the screenshots.
- The Cubs wonder if the Nats were stealing signs. That’s one answer to it, I suppose.
Quote of the series:
“It’s probably one of the biggest butt-whuppings I’ve ever gotten in my career, as a coach or player. I don’t remember getting manhandled that bad in any kind of series I’ve ever been a part of.” –Dale Sveum, Cubs manager. (Well that’s definitely saying something good about the Nationals.)
Other good stuff:
- There’s a lot of wedding bells in going off for the Nats.
- Thomas Boswell of the WaPo says the Nationals are built for the long haul.
- Get to know a bit about Chad Tracy.